Dear Members of the UHS Community,
On behalf of the UHS Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, it is our great pleasure to announce that Matt Levinson has been unanimously selected as our next Head of School starting in the 2022-2023 school year. Matt will succeed Julia Russell Eells in July 2022, following Julia’s remarkable nine-year tenure as Head of School.
A thoughtful, visionary, and experienced Independent School leader, Matt Levinson has 28 years of experience as a passionate educator. Starting his career as a history teacher for the first 14 years, he has also served in various school leadership roles, including Department Chair, Grade Level Dean, Division Director, Assistant Head of School at Marin Country Day School and the Nueva School, and Head of School at University Prep, a 6-12 independent school in Seattle. Matt is currently the Head of School at The Pingry School, a K-12 independent school in New Jersey.
Matt’s appointment as UHS’s 10th Head of School represents the culmination of a comprehensive, national search process. Thanks to the thoughtful and detailed feedback from our community, we articulated the community’s aspirations in our position specification and conducted a comprehensive search. Additionally, we wish to thank the numerous faculty, staff, department heads, alumni, board members, parents, students, and other members of our community who provided invaluable guidance during the search process.
When we set out on our search, we wrote to you that we would look for a transformative academic leader who is student-centric, collaborative, inspiring, and who also possesses a proactive commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) as well as substantial financial, operations and fundraising acumen. We not only found all these qualities and experiences in Matt, but we also discovered a warm, engaging person whose heart is in the right place. His personal and professional characteristics align with our core values of inquiry, integrity, care, interconnection, and agency.
In all of our engagements and queries, we came to appreciate that Matt put students first. He loves engaging with students and supporting them in their journey into young adulthood. Matt was a history teacher and coach for 14 years before he went into administration, and his focus and love for student well-being have continued to inspire. Matt strives for academic excellence while keeping the whole child in mind. His colleagues have said that he wants to know everyone – every student, every parent, every teacher, every staff member, and every alum. He holds people when they are down, and he celebrates every achievement. Matt is a true community builder.
Equally important to Matt is his commitment to the principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging - work that he has prioritized and has been dedicated to for nearly a decade. At Pingry, Matt created an Anti-Racism Task Force to examine and transform practices and culture while developing strategic recommendations. Through this work, Matt and his colleagues reformulated hiring processes, implemented ongoing professional development of faculty and staff, initiated affinity groups for parents and caregivers and middle school students, and created a permanent DEI Board Committee. At University Prep, he led the community to adopt a diversity mission statement and a strategic diversity plan that led to enhanced professional development for faculty and staff, articulation of equity-based teaching practices, creating a permanent DEI Board Committee, and establishing equity-based hiring practices.
At both schools, DEI was central to Matt’s and his entire administrative team’s work, starting with extensive training of the board and the administrative team led by Alison Park of Blink Consulting. Matt believes that DEI work is critical at all levels and that the board and his administrative team are central to creating the tone and setting the culture for the entire community, beginning with their own commitment and training. Finally, Matt’s highly collaborative style and the strength in the relationships that he builds have shown to be highly effective in moving school communities forward, deepening their commitment to DEI.
We are excited for you to meet and work with Matt. His energy is captivating, and his creativity is inspiring. As a lifelong innovator, Matt has brought many initiatives to transform the student experience. At University Prep, Matt and his colleagues created a new daily schedule and launched “intensives” – three-week immersive, interdisciplinary courses twice per year that enabled students to examine and solve real-world problems while engaging in place-based learning in and around the city of Seattle. This past year, at Pingry, Matt and his colleagues created and implemented Pingry Anywhere, a learner-centered experience that allowed for both in-person and remote learning throughout the entire school year while engaging students in the entirety of the Pingry program, including arts, athletics, clubs, and extracurriculars.
After extensive research and time spent meeting with many candidates, the 13-member Search Committee enthusiastically concluded that Matt is the right person to be the next leader of our school. The Search Committee unanimously recommended him to the UHS Board of Trustees. The Board, in turn, unanimously accepted this recommendation and is delighted to introduce Matt Levinson as UHS’s next Head of School.
We are deeply grateful to our entire community for your engagement, thoughtfulness, and support. We could not have done this work without an incredible Head of School Search Committee and the excellent guidance from consultants at Spencer Stuart. The Committee’s insight, care, dedication, and commitment to the principles of DEIB, were crucial in finding the right leader for our school. Each member’s perspective, experience, generosity of time, and appreciation for UHS inspired the entire Committee to work hard and conduct a thoughtful, thorough, and rigorous search process.
Laura Spivy, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, shared, “I am incredibly excited to work with Matt. He is a head of school who puts students first and leads from the heart. This, combined with his strong strategic orientation, will enable him to effectively lead our school to the next level, achieving our future goals and vision. I am so grateful to the Search Committee for their time and incredible insights in finding such an inspiring and able leader for our school.”
More information about Matt, including a letter from Matt to the UHS Community can be found on the UHS Head of School Search page.
Please join us in welcoming Matt, his wife, Priyanthi Alahendra, and their college-age children, Sanjay and Maya, back to the Bay Area. Matt is eager to meet all of you. Matt will be on campus several times over the course of this coming year and will be working closely with Julia and her team to ensure a smooth and successful transition in July 2022.
To learn more about Matt Levinson, see full announcement HERE.